Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Brother Lewis Berry Exiled to South Africa

Catholic & Loving It Blog - James Preece on 16.8.2010

Thanks to everybody who passed this on - for some reason Jack Valero didn't see fit to send me the press release direct...

Fr. Felix Selden, the Apostolic Visitor of the Holy See for the worldwide Confederation of the Oratory of St.Philip Neri has made the following statement with regard to recent speculation about Br. Lewis Berry of the Birmingham Oratory.

“In the course of the Apostolic Visitation currently being carried out at the Birmingham Oratory, after consulting with the Fathers, and taking account of Br. Lewis Berry’s own views, it has been agreed that Br. Lewis’ ongoing formation will best be met in an Oratorian Community that will afford him greater opportunities for a varied programme of pastoral work, as the Church requires of a deacon.

As from the first week of September 2010 Br. Lewis will reside and work at the Port Elizabeth Oratory in South Africa, for a period of at least one year. He has welcomed this opportunity and is now preparing for this next stage of his formation.

I now again request that the Oratorian Community in Birmingham be allowed to continue its work without hindrance. The Apostolic Visitation that has been taking place at the Birmingham Oratory has been chiefly concerned with the Community’s own internal life and discipline.”

The Port Elizabeth Oratory was canonically established by the Holy See on 12th May 2008 and strives to carry out its vocational motto often repeated by the founder of the Oratory, St Philip Neri: “Serve the Lord with gladness.” (Ps 100:2)

Fr. Felix Selden, C.O.

Let me recap the official (100% speculation free) explanation so far...

The Birmingham Three have done nothing wrong, they are are "entirely guiltless of any wrong-doing whatsoever, including, specifically, sexual misdemeanours or homophobia".

Because of "disagreements" within the community - disagreements which if they resulted in fist fights or name calling or any other things that might have caused problems for the papal visit these things are are not the fault of the Birmingham Three who as we know are "entirely guiltless".

This is why they have been silenced and sent to live in monasteries hundreds of miles apart for 95 days.

Now, Brother Lewis (the youngest of the three) is being sent to South Africa and will miss the Papal visit - even though he is "entirely guiltless" because it is suddenly very important for him to receive the kind of formation one simply cannot get within the United Kingdom and it is entirely normal for Oratorians to get less than a months notice that they will be spending a year at the other end of the world.

The official story just doesn't make sense.

The "speculation" that somebody somewhere wants them out of the way sounds a lot more reasonable...

Poor Brother Lewis. Still, at least now he is back in an Oratory and presumably in good standing. Does that mean we will now be allowed to talk to him?